19 July 2007

My First Twilight

So...I just figured out that I have lived in Utah for seven of the past 10 years. I'm not entirely sure how it happened, but that's quite a bit of time served in the Beehive State. And, while I'm certainly known to voice a disgruntled opinion or two about this place, I'd like to think I've come around quite a bit. I even appreciated D's love letter to Utah summers. Didn't completely agree, but I could get behind his reasoning.

Why do I bring this up? Well tonight was a solid Utah night. Almost made me a little happy to call this place home. Even if I did have to drive across the ridiculous sprawl to get to my suburban home tonight. What made it so nice? Slowtrain and my first appearance at a Twilight Series concert.

The good folks at Slowtrain Music have been well recognized lately, showing up on the cover of SLUG magazine and subtly hyping their one-year anniversary party on KRCL's morning drive-time show. The place is run by a husband-wife duo and they're just about as kind and unassuming as two record store owners have ever been. No Jack-Black-in-High-Fidelity here. Just nods and smiles and special orders and records set aside for eager buyers. Tonight's special purchase—The Reminder (Feist) on vinyl. Arrived in a shipment today and Chris promptly dialed my cell to let me know he'd set aside a copy with my name on it. I gladly plunked down the $11.99 (a steal!) and added some plastic record sleeves—the fifth piece of vinyl I've purchased there in a month. I'm on a li'l binge. And, with the way I'm treated at 221 E. 300 S., I may never stop.

I left Slowtrain, parked my car in the Struck lot and walked the three SLC blocks (they're huge... three SLC blocks equal about 15 Portland city blocks or close to 1/2 mile... no joke) to the Gallivan Center, where every class and type of hip being awaited the Fiery Furnaces / Yo La Tengo double-bill. Old hippies. Young hippies. Clean hippies. Dirty hippies. Old hipsters. Young hipsters. Clean hipsters. Dirty hipsters. Downtown SLC can be a Dr. Seuss book populated with (mostly) Caucasian variety. It's kind of a strange sight... everyone's white, but everyone's different. Enh... I guess you'd have to see it. I've reread it three times, and, frankly, my explanation's not doing anyone any good. Let's move on.

Fiery Furnaces got things rolling and I really don't have much to say about their performance. They're solid musicians—they've got to be to keep up that frantic pace while keeping track of the endless time changes (3/4, 4/4, 6/8, you name it...). I just don't know that I'm capable of catching up with them. Perhaps my indifference to the Furnaces is nothing more than a symptom of my greater affinity for music that goes down a little smoother. I don't dislike the Furnaces. I even appreciate what they're going for. But I doubt I'll be choosing to see them again. It's not them, it's me. No, seriously...

I guess now is the best time to mention that, by the time the Fiery Furnaces left the stage, the Gallivan Center was packed to the brim. I staked out the usually safe territory behind the sound board, dead center about 50 yards from the stage. But the crowds flooded through every pathway and bit of open space the square had to offer. This is no lazy summer in the park. It's a scene (Or is it an arms race, D? Did you ever get that sorted out?) and once you've found your spot, don't plan on moving from it—there's no place to go. A step forward pinned me to the rails around the sound booth. A step back landed a strange fellow's hand in my back pocket. By 8:30, the Gallivan Center was in full-blown pedestrian/spectator gridlock.

Honestly, I was fine with all of it. It's hard to exhibit my typical "shut-up-and-listen" elitism at a free, city-hosted gig like this. I do my best to listen and try to avoid the distractions. Luckily, Yo La Tengo blistered their way through the sideshows. And by blistered, I mean scorched, screamed, soloed, sizzled. From note one, the three-piece outfit let loose a string of keyboard and guitar assaults that can only be described with shrugs and gasps. And the setlist was just about dead-on. The covered my absolute YLT faves, moving straight from Autumn Sweater into Let's Save Tony Orlando's House and later served up a near a capella version of You Can Have It All. They saved Sugarcube for the tail end of the set and delivered a relatively succinct encore that wrapped with a (seemingly) impromptu version of a Zombies track I've never heard of (then again, I don't know any Zombies tracks at all... how that for a completely un-hipster-like confession?).

So that was that. My first Twilight show. And it won't be my last. Peter Bjorn and John arrive (with Apostle of Hustle) later this month and Calexico comes to town in August (the day before I see Wilco in Berkeley...I'm working around the clock on the logistical possibilities of seeing both).

1 comment:

Dr. Neuroplastic said...

Between you and Dainon, I'm itching to pay for my music and to do it at Slowtrain.